WhatsApp head Will Cathcart took to his X account (formerly Twitter) and disputed a media report claiming the Meta-owned company is exploring possibilities of displaying advertisements on its instant messaging app.
Financial Times reported that some teams at Meta are discussing whether to show ads along with contacts in the list of conversations on the chat page. The interface could appear similar to how ads show up on Messenger.
As per the report, no final decisions have been made and the concept has been debated at a higher level as there are concerns it could “alienate users.” WhatsApp said in a statement that it’s not testing or working on it, and doesn’t have any plans around it.
WhatsApp has remained an ad-free app since its inception, and even after the company was acquired by Meta (then Facebook) in 2014. This has been in line with the popular note from WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, “No Ads!, No Games!, No Gimmicks!”
How WhatsApp made money was by charging users $1 to download the app.
And Facebook (said they) supported our mission & vision.
Brian even wrote this famous note: pic.twitter.com/A6ufhkMIuX
— neeraj arora (@neerajarora) May 4, 2022
In later years, however, Meta started using WhatsApp Business as the money-making machine for the instant messaging platform after ditching the $1 annual subscription fee. Launched in 2018, the app allows businesses to connect with their customers to provide various services and market new offers. It was reported earlier this year that WhatsApp Business reached 200 million users.
Meta’s other big acquisition Instagram has leveraged advertising for quite some time now. The social media app designed to consume image and video content displays ads in various places, including the content feed, Stories, and Reels.
In recent news, WhatsApp announced its Channels feature will expand globally in the coming weeks, starting with India. It also rolled out support for uploading HD videos, multi-account support, revamped macOS app, and more. Some changes seen in a recent Android beta suggest the app might add support for cross-platform messaging in the future.